Statistics show that the number of hip replacements carried out in the US has skyrocketed in recent years, with more and more people turning to this surgical option to help alleviate the pains, aches, discomfort, and mobility issues caused by damaged or diseased hips.
There are many different reasons why you might want to get a hip replacement done, and while the majority of patients tend to be aged between 60 and 80, it’s not uncommon for younger people to need hip implants too.
Potential causes and problems leading up to this surgery include arthritis and osteonecrosis, and you may consider getting a hip replacement if you’re suffering from persistent hip pain that is interfering with your daily life, making simple tasks harder to accomplish.
A successful hip replacement can be life-changing, even extending a patient’s lifespan in some cases, helping pain fade away and allowing the patient to move more freely and enjoy their lives once again, but there are some risks associated with the procedure too.
After any kind of operation, blood clots can be a common complaint. After a hip replacement, it’s possible for clots to form in the leg veins, and this can be quite dangerous, as if one of those clots finds its way up to a key organ, like the heart, lungs, or brain, serious medical consequences may occur as a result.
As part of the surgical process for a hip replacement, parts of your existing hip joint may become fractured or damaged. This is one of the most worrying potential side effects from MoM implants, and it may lead to additional surgery being needed to repair the damage, potentially with more metal plates and screws being introduced.
Without proper sterilization and hygiene, the site of the surgery may become infected. Infections can occur at both skin level and beneath the skin, around the hip itself, and while these can usually be treated with antibiotics, there may be cases in which additional surgery or more severe treatment is needed to tackle the problem.
It’s not uncommon for people who have had new hip implants to find that their newly-made joint can become dislocated now and again, especially in the early days and weeks after the surgery takes place. This might be because the new implant hasn’t been positioned correctly or is the wrong size for your body, in which case, extra surgery may once again be needed.
It’s also possible for patients of hip replacements to find that their hip joint feels somewhat loose after surgery. Again, this can be caused by the use of an implant that hasn’t been properly prepared for the right size or shape or hasn’t been inserted correctly. Over time, this can lead to renewed hip pain and mobility issues. Surgical intervention may once again be required to solve this issue.
It’s even possible for patients to come out of hip replacement surgeries to find that one of their legs appears longer or shorter than the other. This may be caused by the muscles on one side of the hip being damaged during the surgery, so you may require physical therapy or exercise to strengthen those muscles and restore order to your legs.
Whenever you accept any kind of surgery, you also have to accept the risks that come along with it. No form of surgery is 100% guaranteed, without any risks whatsoever, and this is especially relevant for hip implants, where several different complications can occur.
In some cases, as mentioned above, more surgery may be needed to treat these issues, and it may even eventually lead to a second hip replacement if the first one wasn’t carried out properly.
You may also be encouraged to move around as much as you can (with crutches or assistance) after your operation to prevent clots from forming and start stretching your muscles, and physical therapy can also be utilized to speed up the recovery process.
Your doctor should also inform you of some ways you can improve your recovery rate at home, by making it easier for you to get around, having a friend or relative help out with your cooking and chores, and try to avoid bending too much.
Clearly, there are risks associated with hip replacements, but reports show that the vast majority of these operations are carried out smoothly, leading to much happier lives for the people involved. Make sure you’re aware of all the risks and rewards before agreeing to any operation.